Year in Review - 2010 Edition

With today being the last day of 2010, let's just review my year in the blogosphere.

JANUARY 2010: Well, the first month of 2010 was a blogging FAIL for me. I had too much to do for our Mardi Gras Ball. I did have some fun though!

FEBRUARY 2010: There wasn't much to February, but I do love the post about Our Valentine Weekend. We may have spent it at the beach, but there was plenty of craftiness going on.

MARCH 2010: With only 5 posts in March, there wasn’t much to choose from. However, this first post on re-organizing the craft room (an ever-ongoing chore) was probably my fave for the month.

APRIL 2010: Apparently, in the spring I kept myself pretty busy. The TWO (count them) blog posts from April were both on cleaning and organizing the craft room closet. I prefer this second one though. . .it’s the AFTER!!

MAY 2010: Oh May, with your ONE blog post entitled Busy, Busy Me which explains some of why there was only the one post that month (and NO pictures.)

JUNE 2010: The Beginning of a New Crafty Lifestyle - This was my first blog post after getting laid off and my first step on this new adventure. It's weird even reading it again and re-feeling those emotions. Definitely the best one that month.

JULY 2010: It’s not odd that the number of blog posts started going up this month (but not by much!!) It was HARD to choose between the six posts in July since they almost all focused on me trying to get the shop set up and understanding what I needed to do before I opened it on the last day of the month. Eventually, I decided on Getting Back into the Swing of that Jewelry Thing because of the beautiful pictures of our trip to Aruba.

AUGUST 2010:  It was a long month of me attempting to find balance (which I’ve still yet to find) but my favorite post was the last one when I used the Pantone Fall Color report as an attempt in Branching Out My Color Repertoire to make some soldered pendants.

SEPTEMBER 2010: I couldn’t seem to pick just ONE of the many posts I made in September. So, I’ve picked two. The first was my first (and so far only) attempt in making a video. If you still haven't seen My Mixed Media Crystal Bracelet Video and Instructions, you should totally watch it just for a laugh!  Secondly, was the button bonanza and giveaway post, mostly because of the button p0rn.

OCTOBER 2010: October was filled with all kinds of craziness - my anniversary, blogiversary, birthday, and  some illnesses. For some reason in the mist of all that chaos, I really like this simple list (with pictures) of some of the tasks I should have been doing simply entitled What I Really Should Be Doing.

NOVEMBER 2010: Most of my posts in this month seemed to have been meal plans. . .but maybe that was just me. Some of the posts seemed to be rambling or complaining. However, the last post of the month rejoiced in appreciating the little things. I like that, I need to remember that Everyday is Awesome.

DECEMBER 2010:  Wow! I think December was my favorite month for blog posts, so I’m going to share a few of my faves. First, is Keys to the Past where I showed off the beautiful tin of keys my grandmother passed to me. Secondly, was my little tutorial on making a quick and easy Christmas Card Display. And lastly was my post on Organizing My Jewelry for Sale.

Just by looking at this last month, I can totally see how much more craft-centered my life has become. That makes the whole year of floundering to get to this point really worth it.

Stick with me as we barrel into 2011. Here's hoping it can only get better!

Mirror Re-Do (Thrifty Thursday)

It's super late so let's see if I can make this quick!
It's Thrifty Thursday so I'm going to show you how I took a thrift store mirror and transformed/altered/made it my own. It's a really simple project.

Pat and I had talked about finding an old window frame and replacing the glass with mirror. When I found this for $3.00 I snatched it up.

To give it the aged look we wanted, I decided to crackle it. So I taped off the mirror.
Lightly painted it a brown
I then applied crackle medium and a coat of white. [You should follow the instructions on your bottle of crackle medium.] The pictures really don't do it justice.

For an added couple of notes (and some more semi-pretty pictures) Let's move on
I made White Chicken Enchiladas via The Pioneer Woman's recipe and while I seriously made a mess in the kitchen. . .they were SO GOOD!! So worth the mess!

New in the shop
Heaven and Earth Bracelet
Now on sale
Miracles and Magic Necklace

For some more DIY Home Decor related projects here are a few
Crafty Links
I think that's all for now. Tomorrow's the LAST DAY OF THE YEAR!!! I sooooo need to figure out what I'm going to be doing for it. What are your plans?

Getting My Craft Bag Back On

It's been a while since I mentioned what's in my "Craft Bag." I've come to realize that now that I'm no longer traveling to and from a regular desk job anymore the need to have a craft project (or two) with me at all times has dwindled.
I'm working full time now as a crafter/artist.
I'm surrounded by and inundated with craft projects that must be done to feed my shop.
I don't create for pleasure and leisure anymore, but yet it's still a pleasure to create.
I've heard that when you start doing what you love for a living, sometimes it becomes more of a chore. That hasn't happened to me yet and here's hoping it doesn't either.

I think I've strayed off topic. I was talking about my craft bags. Well, while there's been a shortage in need for them, today I actually packed up a quick one to take my youngest niece to the Dentist. I don't wait well so I always need something to occupy myself while I wait. This craft bag was short and sweet. Basically, I scooped up much of what was on the craft desk yesterday along with some wire, pliers, and head pins and tossed it in a bag.

As well, I grabbed my newest copies of Stringing and Belle Armoire Jewelry, a notebook, and the iPad (to write this.) I was prepared!! So yeah, I crafted in public and I love it. However, I found it odd that I didn't get any stares or sideways glances with the pile of pliers and wire in my lap. I guess people at the pediatric dentist office are more polite than I thought...

Of course, THIS TIME I actually had my business cards with me and wanted some inquiries. Last week Pat and I made it out to lunch where the waitress asked about the soldered collage necklace I was wearing. She even had another waitress come over to check out the pendant. While she was mostly interested in the process and materials for making one, I could have directed her to my blog and/or shop of I had only had those darn card with me. I've learned my lesson.

Speaking of directing people to my shop, I listed this necklace this morning.

Head over to the shop for more info on it.

On a side note, I really need to work on my HTML skills so I can include links in these iPad posts!

For now, let's see if this method works any...
*~Crafty Links~* (theme is General)
1. Making paper on flickr
2. Make dorset buttons with o-rings and embroidery thread
3. Make fabric buttons with o-rings, fabric, embroidery thread, and felt
4. Transform holiday tins
5. DIY screen printing

Wild, Wild Web Wednesday
1. I've got a waffle iron I've used only minimally. However, these unusual waffle recipes may remedy that: ---waffled pizza pockets -  ---Also, check out wafflizer -  ---AND you can even make better less messy bacon in a waffle iron
2. Magic dots - this is not really a game but a fun little time waster. Just select "Balls 2" and then move cursor over the colored dots - again and again! Pretty too!
3. These realistic cartoon characters are pretty creepy.

Maybe once I get home I can fix these links. Sorry for now! Gotta get my learn on!
I fixed some of the ugliness that was on this page on Thursday morning. Be glad if you missed it!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Celebrating the Little Victories

As I begin to seriously contemplate my New Year's goals and resolutions; I realize that I should have already made these decisions. At least I've got a few more days to nail them down.
In the meantime, let me fill you in on what I HAVE accomplished.

There was a bit of time spent in the craft room today. However, it wasn't as long as I had hoped since I've been feeling a bit under the weather. This is what the craft desk looked like when I left it.

As well, there's a new listing in the shop
Hard Candy Earrings

While I didn't do very much work (just left a comment) for this next accomplishment, I can't help but mention it. Today, I found out that I won the Thursday Giveaway on Andrew Thornton's blog. It's a wonderful collection of beads from SueBeads. I can't wait to play with them!!

And, since I'm really trying to get back into regular blogging habits, here's some links for you.
~*Crafty Links*~
Seeing as the weather has turned cold even down south where I am, my thoughts turn to fiber projects. Here are a few crochet ones. Maybe one day I'll learn to crochet something other than a single chain stitch. Anyway.
Totally Random Tuesday Links
 So that's it. Back to work thinking over those resolutions. What's on your New Year's List?

Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Blogging

Soooo. . .how was your holiday?
Mine was pretty darn okay. My sweet husband added to my craft room comfort by getting me a new work chair. It's a good height for my craft desk. No more backless bar stools for me!!

I've only gotten minimal usage out of it with the busy holidays visiting family and such, but I did get to use it to package up some orders the other day. With a few adjustments to the back, I think it'll be PERFECT!! Yay!

I did add a new item to the shop today.
From the Treetops Earrings

Hopefully the new chair will get used plenty this week as I bust out my crafty skills and some more jewelry now that the holiday rush is over.

I'm also hoping to get back into a regular eating routine and even made out our menu late last week. So, I'm here to share it with you. Don't forget to visit I'm an Organizing Junkie for more Menu Plan Monday yumminess!!

B: Cereal
L: Leftovers
D: Balsamic pork loin, mac-n-cheese, peas

B: Cinnamon Bread
L: Ham sandwiches, apples
D: Rotisserie chicken, cauliflower gratin, rice

B: Yogurt with granola and honey
L: mushroom soup, bread
D: Pasta Carbonara (with ricotta), salad

B: Cinnamon bread
L: Pepperoni calzones
D: White chicken enchaladas, corn


B: Omelets
L: Tuna Noodles
D: New Year's Eve - OUT

B: Cereal
L: Snack lunch/pizza
D: Hoppin John, Spinach salad

B: Applesauce oatmeal muffins
L: PB & J
D: Steak, potatoes, green beans

Let me admit that all of the recipes I have links for have not been tried personally. It's a week of experimenting for me! I've got all these lists of recipes, so I'm going to start trying them out. I'll let you know. The pork loin's in the oven now. . .

And now, after making that list. . . I'm STARVING. I'll spare you from the links today as I'm off to start on the rest of the meal.

Etsy and Holiday Cheer

Can you believe it's Christmas Eve!
I'm fairly sure my shopping's done and I only have a few more items to wrap. Yet, even with the clock a ticking, I'm still putting it off. Anyone else? Show of hands. . .

While I'm sure the last thing you want to think about is doing ANY MORE shopping. I want to alert you to a few things going on in the Etsy Shop.
First, this bracelet will be expiring on Monday.
Simply Charming Bracelet

As well, these four items were placed on SALE.
Smile Cupcake Pendant
Brown Button Boogie Necklace
Happy Wish Bracelet
Whimsy Youth Pendant
Speaking of Etsy, they've got a new feature called Taste Test that is a bit of a taste quiz that helps find other items you might like. I love little quizzes like this. Try it out!!

I did find some more Christmas links to share, but since it's Christmas Eve and a little late, I think I'll save them for next year. For now, you go on and enjoy your holiday!! I'll see you once all the egg nog wears off!!

Have a safe and happy Christmas. Enjoy yourself, but please take a moment to remember why we celebrate.


Hectic Holidays

The Christmas panic has begun to set in. Those last few gifts are alluding me.
I had grand plans yesterday to knock out the rest of the shopping and then come home with plenty of time and energy to blog about my lack of a menu this week. As I'm sure you can tell. . .that didn't happen. It was fortunate that we even ate yesterday. My blood sugar dropped so low I knew I wouldn't make it through the grocery store without attacking a loaf of bread like a dog to a bone. As much as I hate it, fast food to the rescue. Alas, I do need to TRY to go to the grocery store at some point before Christmas day.

Even with all the fail that was yesterday's shopping excursion, I'm trying to stay positive and pray to get something accomplished today. I've got a few handmade gifts that I started last night that I can work on. I could maybe wrap a few items. I could pick up around the house. But, first and foremost, I want to make sure I can get this last gift. It's driving me CRAZY!!

Trying not to dwell or freak out again, let's move on. I had a fantastic weekend as we did Christmas with my in-laws on Saturday. I got all domestic on Friday and made my Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies as well as some reindeer chow. Both are delicious!!

We did our gift exchange (we pulled names MONTHS ago) and I got all these!!!
Jewelry Displays

In addition, there were canisters of beads, wire, and baggies included as part of my gift!! It was all so LOVELY!! Somebody knows me well! I can't wait to put them to good use as picture props. But, for now I just have to get through the rest of Christmas.

I've got a ton on my infamous to do list, so let's get to some links before I've got to run.
~*Crafty Christmas Links*~
That's the end of my Christmas link list I have on my list. We'll see if I come with anymore before the big day.

In any case, I want to wish each of you the best of luck on finishing up your last minute details. And, just in case I get all "wrapped up" with everything else going on, let me wish you a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS and HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!

Jewelry Challenge Reveal (thanks Lorelei)


Almost two weeks ago, I announced that I was hopping on the bandwagon once again for Lorelei's newest Michael's Reader Challenge. And yesterday I even gave y'all a sneak peek of my necklace.

Here are the beads that I ended up using for the necklace (including the two added ones: faceted white beads and silvery-clear-iridescent seed beads.)

I played around with the idea of adding some color, but just couldn't make it look right. I'm sure some of the other participants did an excellent job overcoming that challenge. As I studied the beads, the black quartz nuggets began to look more and more like coal to me. Coal, at this time of the year, makes me think of what you are supposed to get in your stocking from Santa Claus if you are naughty. And there, the idea of Naughty or Nice was born.
As you can see, I used the darker pearls, nuggets, and stacks of the chain on one side to represent naughty and the mother of pearl, clear/silver, white faceted, and seed beads on the other for nice. The naughty beads (hehe) are all wire wrapped with galvanized steel wire and the nice beads and strung on beading wire.
For the focal, I used an oval aluminum piece I found in the scrapbook supplies. It has holes punched around its perimeter. I stamped the words "Naughty or Nice" into it and used a sharpie to blacken the letters. Blue and purple alcohol ink add a touch of color similar to the pearls. I then sealed it with a matte spray sealer before wrapping wire through the holes with seed beads. As well, a small strand of rhinestones was added for some sparkle. I used E6000 to glue black felt to the back for added comfort and to cover the wire ends. The clasp is a simple toggle clasp.
I'm pretty happy with the results!

Click on the links below to check out the other challenge participants and hop on over to Lorelei's blog for MORE!


I'd LOVE to hear what you thought of my use of the challenge materials!

Keys to the Past

I try to make the 45 minute drive to Mobile about once a week to visit with my family. Usually these visits consist of me helping with the nieces (homework, eating dinner, baths, brushing teeth, staying in the bed, discipline, and generally giving the other adults a break.) However, occasionally the planets align and the girls are with their dad. This means I get to visit with my mom and grandmother (and step-dad) solely. These rare visits give me an opportunity to have REAL conversations with them. Last week just happened to be one of those golden opportunities. We talked, and I got the chance to show Mawmaw (what I call my grandmother) some pictures of the jewelry I've recently made. When I showed her the flower and key one, she got excited and asked me to go get the bandage container out of her dresser.

Returning to the living room with the tin, I dumped the contents onto the coffee table. And, what to my wondering eyes did appear but a horde of wonderful keys.
 Several of them were vintage skeleton keys
 There were tiny keys
 and a mix of other house and car keys, old and new(er)

I couldn't believe she had all these. In fact, I had JUST bought some skeleton keys from a bead store, paying a pretty penny for them. And all the while, my grandmother had saved these treasures!

I do have a distant, faded memory of this box of keys from when I was a kid. But, it's rather fuzzy and I never dreamed she still had them. As I examined each key and gushed over my love for them; Mawmaw explained that she had been collecting the keys for as long as she could remember, picking them up off the street or where ever she found them. Some of them might have even been keys to my great-grandmother's house. Those memories make this collection of keys all the more special. Mawmaw repeated over and over that she couldn't explain why she ever kept this box of old keys all this time. But I knew why. . .she was saving them for me.

Before, I get too sappy (and I absolutely can) about my grandmother and the treasures our elders can share (more than just the physical ones), let me go ahead and move on.

First off is the new bracelet I listed
Fancy Pants Bracelet

~*Christmas Craft Links*~

Thrifty Thursday
(if the thriftiness of a full box of vintage keys wasn't enough for ya!)

Lastly, here's a reminder that Lorelei's newest Michael's Jewelry challenge reveal is tomorrow. Here's a sneak peek at my completed challenge necklace.
Not enough for you? Come back tomorrow for the full reveal.

Christmas Card Display (and more)

The holidays sure do make everything more hectic and chaotic don't they? However, for those of us who are in the business of selling stuff; it's the perfect time of year!

To put it simply: I've been busy!
Between holiday parties, meetings, programs, shopping, and selling a few more items in my shop I haven't had many spare moments. Yet, I'm not complaining. I love this time of year.

I admitted the other day that I've only put out minimal holiday decorations, but I did add one more that I want to share. It's crafty (kinda) and quick. It's a Christmas Card Display. Usually, I just stick the cards on the fridge, but this year I wanted to showcase them a bit more. Plus, I've had these (see below) for some time and wanted to put them to use.

Of course, I couldn't find the dang TINY clothespins at first so I had to search the whole craft room. In doing so, I stumbled upon a mini string of plastic Christmas Tree lights that I knew would work perfectly with this project.
The instructions are simple: tie the string ends together to make a big circle and hang it from two thumb tacks (about  three inches apart) in the wall. Then, use the clothespins to hang you cards on the string of lights.
It took me no more than five minutes to assemble the display (I'm not counting the time I searched for the clothespins), and I love how it turned out.

Link time!!
~*Crafty Holiday Links*~
Wild, Wild Web Wednesday

I did add another new item to the shop:
Drab to Fab Earrings

Don't forget to check out the on SALE section of the shop either!

Time to run, more shopping awaits (as does the nieces' school Christmas Program.) Can't be late!

Winding down the 100DayProject

I awoke the other day with many thoughts about the 100 Day project and decided to jot them down here to share with you. Some of the bits I g...